Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is the most commonly encountered chronic joint condition. Almost 30 million Americans suffer from OA, mainly in the knees, lower back, hips, neck and fingers.
OA is caused by the tear down of the protective cartilage-made cushion that decreases the friction from bones rubbing against each other at the joints. This process results in a progressively worsening cascade of pain, inflammation and decreasing range of motion. As the condition progresses, the increased damage causes a vicious cycle of inflammation that promotes further damage and so forth.
Besides the necessary lifestyle changes (e.g., weight reduction and physical exercise), the mainstay treatment of symptoms are anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications, both over the counter and via a prescription. However, although these can help, they are not devoid of serious side effects. In fact, acetaminophen, the most common OTC analgesic, is the leading cause of acute liver injury in the U.S.,1 whereas non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the cause of over 100,000 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths every year.2
Luckily, there is one dietary supplement that has been shown to be equally effective with prescription medications in reducing OA-related pain and inflammation, minus the side effects: Turmeric.3,4 Turmeric and curcumin exhibit potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory action, improving symptoms and functionality in patients with OA, thereby posing a great alternative or adjuvant treatment choice.
- Lee W. Acetaminophen-related acute liver failure in the United States. Hepatology Research. 2008;38:S3-S8.
- Study Shows Long-term Use Of NSAIDs Causes Severe Intestinal Damage [Internet]. ScienceDaily. 2005 [cited 8 January 2017]. Available from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050111123706.htm
- Lakhan S, Ford C, Tepper D. Zingiberaceae extracts for pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition Journal. 2015;14(1).
Daily J, Yang M, Park S. Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2016;19(8):717-729. Sahebkar A, Saboni N, Pirro M, Banach M. Curcumin: An effective adjunct in patients with statin-associated muscle symptoms?. Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle. 2016;.